Saturday, November 28, 2015

Ghosts on My Bookshelf

My collection of books outgrew the shelves in our house long ago.  The titles crowd my bedside table, clutter my closet, and sit in piles in the basement. I usually buy them for reading and research and don't generally seek rare or collectible copies.  However, in picking up inexpensive, used books over the years, I've managed to acquire several old gems here and there.  The end and title pages from some of these reveal previous owners.  Here are a few of them.

War Talks of Confederate Veterans, edited by George S. Bernard, Petersburg:  Fenn & Owen, 1892.  This is my treasured first edition of George S. Bernard's book.  My copy came with an eight page pamphlet of review excerpts tucked inside the boards by the original publisher.  John Horn, John Selby, and I edited Bernard's long lost second edition, which we titled Civil War Talks and published through the University of Virginia Press in 2012.  My copy of the "first edition" of War Talks was given as a Christmas gift in 1917 to a "G.A. Lewis III."

General Hancock, by Francis Walker, New York:  D, Appleton, 1894.  This one is signed by Harold P. Goodnow, an 1895 graduate of Cornell University.  Goodnow wrote an article about Gettysburg, which appeared in the 1895 Annual Report of the American Historical Association. He was later listed as a Second Lieutenant in "Battery D," U.S.A. in 1899.

Richmond At War:  The Minutes of the City Council, 1861-1865, edited by Louis Manarin, Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1966.  Signed by J. Ambler Johnston for Kenneth M. Broughton.  Johnston, a 1904 graduate of Virginia Tech and president of the Tech Alumni Association, was co-founder of Carneal and Johnston, an architectural-engineering firm that designed many of the buildings on his alma mater's campus. He also was involved in supporting the purchase of battlefields around Richmond, and developing the historical markers on those grounds.  Johnston was chairman of Richmond Civil War Centennial Committee.  Broughton served as Secretary of the Confederate Historical Society.

Storm over the Land: A Profile of the Civil War by Carl Sandburg, New York:  Harcourt Brace, 1942. Signed: "John W. Martin, Dartmouth"

War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies.  I have several volumes of the Official Records signed by a "Ben L. Hewit."  As far as I can tell, these books belonged to Benjamin Lightner Hewit, of Blair County, PA, who served in the 23rd Pennsylvania early in the war, with later stints as a member of the Pennsylvania militia at the time of the Gettysburg Campaign, and as a Major, Paymaster of Cavalry.  After the war, he represented Blair County in the Pennsylvania legislature in the late 1800s.  He died in office in 1894 and is buried in Hollidaysburg, PA.

Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies, Series I, Vol. 9.  This title is inscribed "Presented to Geo. W. Williams by Senator J. L McLaurin."  John L. McLaurin was a Democratic U.S. Senator from South Carolina at the turn of the century.  He studied law at the University of Virginia.  My best guess is that the book was presented to George Walton Williams (1820-1903), a Charleston merchant and banker.